AL ETTIHAD set up an exciting clash against Isa Town last night after both teams won their respective opening games in the 2019 Khalifa bin Salman Cup.
Ettihad posted a come-from-behind 79-74 win over Sitra to book their berth in the tournament’s second stage, while Isa Town joined them after taking down Bahrain Club 97-81 in yesterday’s other first round fixture.
Both games were played at the Khalifa Sports City arena in Isa Town.
Ettihad needed to battle back from as many as 15 points down before claiming the hard-earned result against Sitra.
Ettihad faced a 9-21 hole at the end of the first quarter, but managed to get to within 31-35 by the half. They took the lead in the third and were narrowly ahead 54-53 heading into the final canto, where they did enough to seal the all-important win.
Ali Ghadeer made a go-ahead three-pointer to put Ettihad in front for good, 74-73, with only a minute remaining in the contest.
Ali Helal followed that up with his own triple, and after Hussain Taqi connected on two free-throws to bring Sitra to within 74-77, Serbian big man had two charity shots with seven seconds left to peg the final score.
Ilic and Ghadeer combined for 56 of Ettihad’s points in the game. Ilic led his team with 29 to go along with 10 rebounds and three blocks. Ghadeer was in fine shooting form, burying seven-of-eight three-pointers. He also had six assists and five steals.
Taqi led Sitra with 24 points while Senegalese professional Mansour Kasse finished with 23 markers, 13 rebounds and five blocks.
Meanwhile, Isa Town used a strong finish to defeat Bahrain Club in their match-up.
Isa Town doubled their opponents’ output in the final canto, 29-14, to claim the win. They only had a one-point advantage, 68-67, after three, but were dominant in the fourth, which they kicked off with a game-changing 18-4 run and never looked back.
Ahmed Salman had an impressive game for Isa Town, finishing with a near triple-double. He scored 25 points, took down eight rebounds and dished out seven assists. Mansoor Jaber added 22 including four triples, while Haminn Quantance had 16 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and six steals.
Lester Ferguson paced Bahrain Club with 35 points. He also had 10 rebounds. Tariq Hasan chipped in with 17 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
The second round game between Ettihad and Bahrain Club is scheduled for Sunday next week.
The first round continues tomorrow with Al Hala facing Samaheej at 6pm followed by Riffa taking on Al Najma at 7.45pm at the same venue.